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Runtrails' Rocky Mountain Journal
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"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream,
not only plan, but also believe." Anatole France


It's almost show time for the Hardrock Hundred (HRH).

Nervous runners began descending on Silverton two or three weeks ago to acclimate to the high altitude and familiarize themselves with the course on their own or with crews marking the course each day. Crews and pacers, usually family or good friends, helped fill all the motel rooms, campgrounds, the hostel, and residents' houses. Even volunteers from around the state and country, like us, came early for some of the fun.

Silverton is a cool place to hang out before the race, just like Leadville always is. It's fun to see our friends from all over the country - and world. We've been busy with the Colorado Trail and Jim's long runs in preparation for the Leadville race and haven't done as much "hanging out" with our friends as we'd intended. We'll try to do more of that at Leadville.

Anyway, we've had such a great time here that we plan to come back again soon - like next July!

Jim was looking at the scenery from our camper one day and told me, more in honesty than in jest, that he wants to come here to die peacefully if he ever gets cancer. "Forget the chemo and other treatments. Just give me some morphine and let me die right here. And throw my ashes on top of one of these mountains."

It's too bad we're leaving next week. We'll both miss the San Juans.


Yesterday after lunch we stopped by the high school gymnasium, site for most of the race activities, and visited with friends as they were checking in and getting their race packets. Kathy Lang, M.D. (Jim Ballard's wife) was doing medical check-ins. Heidi Schutt was busy selling items her company, Running Delights, carries. Most folks were heading off for the "Pot Lick" in a few minutes. We joined the crowd.

One of the first pre-race activities on the schedule, the "Pot Lick" was a pot-luck-style lunch from 1 to 4 PM at Silverton's Memorial Park. Andrea Feucht, ultra runner/HRH committee member, organized the event again. Runners, volunteers, and friends gathered in a little gazebo on the lawn and shared pizza, mac-&-cheese, fruit and veggie trays, baked beans, ice cream, and all manner of desserts. Yum!

It was great to see friends who've been here a couple weeks as well as ones we haven't seen recently. Below are photos of some of them, with the identities we know. (Please tell us who the others are if we haven't identified them.)

In the photo below are Liz and Tom Hayes-McGoff, one of our favorite ultra couples. They live in Bozeman, Montana. Both have finished Hardrock and other tough hundred-milers. Liz won Wasatch one year. She plans to crew and pace Tom this year at HRH.

Left  to right are Blake Wood (former HRH record-holder and multiple finisher), Andrea Feucht (multiple HRH finisher/race committee member), Jim, Betsy Kalmeyer (four-time female winner at Hardrock, seven-time finisher), and Jennifer Roach's husband (Jennifer is entered in the race).

It was good to talk more with Betsy, who has the second-fastest time on the Colorado Trail (a few hours less than Hal Koerner). We compared notes about the scenery along the CT in the San Juans and the "fun" getting to some of the trail heads.

Liz Walker, below with Jim, is one of our ultra friends from Georgia. She completed the Grand Slam (Western States, Vermont, Leadville, and Wasatch 100-milers) last summer and is pacing Hans-Dieter Weisshaar the entire 100 miles at Hardrock this year. (Runners 60 and over may have a pacer the whole way; others can have pacers for only the last 60 miles or so.) Liz hopes to win the lottery at HRH next year so she can compete officially.

Hans is shown on the left below. Everybody who runs 100-milers knows Hans because he runs so many of them each year! He and his wife, Susi, in the blue dress, live in Germany but spend most of the year in the U.S. at races. Susi is an extraordinary crew person. Both are very personable folks. Hans has finished this race five times. Also shown are Rich Limacher (light blue shirt) and his wife, who live in the Chicago, Illinois area. Rich has finished HRH at least once.


Jim literally ran from our campground into town this morning (Thursday) and helped Lois McKenzie, the volunteer coordinator, finish cleaning out water jugs for the aid stations. He also helped her several hours yesterday morning. He stayed for the runners' mandatory race briefing at noon and talked with some of the folks he hadn't seen in a while. All these activities took place at the school gym.

Lois and John Cappis, another HRH committee member, are shown below:

I arrived just as the runners' briefing was ending, said good-bye to Jim as he left to go get some lunch, and talked with friends who hung around. Drop bags were due by 3 PM, so I watched as some of the stacks piled up:

Notice the school's symbol on the wall (miners' tools)?

There was some miscommunication about whether the volunteers would be getting lunch at their briefing at 2 PM so Jim went ahead and got a hamburger. I ate some lunch in the camper about 11 AM. When Jim returned at 1:45 he was rightly irritated to discover a large lunch spread for the volunteers. We both ate some more, then attended the briefing for aid station and communications volunteers. Most folks had already left when I took this photo:

After the briefing we got together with Dave Coblentz, Jim's co-captain at Cunningham aid station, where we'll be working all day and night on Saturday. We went through our food and equipment supplies and made plans for water, stoves, a heater, lights, chairs, cots, and other items.

Some of our supplies are shown in this photo:

We'll fill our truck bed a couple times with all the food, runners' drop bags, and equipment needed for the aid station.

It was too early to carry anything out to the site in Cunningham Gulch because no one would be staying there tonight to guard the goods, but we went out with the young couple who supplies the tents to the race and helped them erect the huge three-sided tent. I forgot to takes photos as it was going up but I'll show you what it looks like on Saturday when we're in operation.

Unfortunately, we didn't get back into town in time to enjoy the Silverton Rescue Squad's spaghetti dinner. We had leftovers in the camper instead. Bummer!

Next up: the race is on! Watching runners at Grant Swamp Pass and setting up our aid station on Friday.

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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2006 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil